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Kawhi hasn’t he made a decision yet?

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We have that and more in Tuesday’s NBA newsletter.

NBA: Toronto Raptors-Championship Parade Gerry Angus-USA TODAY Sports

Dear Kawhi Leonard,

What it do, babeeeeeeeee?

The only superstar NBA free agent who didn’t agree to a deal on Sunday also didn’t agree to a deal on Monday. And here we all are all the way on July 2 for crying out loud, still waiting for Kawhi to decide between the NBA champion Toronto Raptors, the LA Lakers, and the LA Clippers. Everything is relative, and the other big names making their deals before free agency even began (even at its earlier than usual time market this season) has made the Kawhi wait unbearable, even though in reality it’s been only a matter of hours.

It’s been especially unbearable, one imagines, for the Lakers, who have a whole dang roster to fill out around LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Kyle Kuzma. LA did get a deal with Troy Daniels on Monday, so there will be *a* guard on the roster. (Whew.) The Raptors are in a holding pattern, too, and the Clippers’ only moves of consequence have been to bring back Patrick Beverley and absorb Mo Harkless and a pick in the reconstituted Jimmy Butler sign and trade.

I wrote that even as of Monday morning, the Lakers and Clippers were aiming at Kawhi or bust because the rest of free agency moved so quickly. It’d be interesting to have seen free agency evolve had Durant waited until a few days into July like he did in 2016, to see how everyone else would react and how situations like that of D’Angelo Russell would have played out. Alas.

Golden hours

Consider me flummoxed at how many smart people are counting out the Warriors going into next season. No, Russell isn’t a perfect fit with Stephen Curry or Klay Thompson. But he’s not a bad fit, and he’s instantly Golden State’s third best healthy player (fourth best player overall). Thompson should be back at some point in the 2019-20 season. We don’t know what’s going to happen with Draymond Green — a trade either now or in the middle of next season wouldn’t be a surprise given the Warriors’ salary issues — but so long as he’s in Golden State the Warriors have a top-flight defender who can take on centers and point guards.

And they still have Steph freaking Curry, the two-time MVP and best shooter ever. And now Steph will again be unleashed with Kevin Durant gone.

The last two seasons Steph played without Durant, he won MVP. The Warriors won a title without Durant and came a couple shots from capping off a 73-win season with another title without Durant. The team is different and older now, sure. Klay missing time will hurt, sure. Green’s future is shaky, sure. But to act like there’s no way this team is a top-three seed in the West, or that there’s no way this team actually competes for a title — that’s ludicrous. These are still the Warriors! Put some respect on them.

Links

Best free agents remaining, starring DeMarcus Cousins, Danny Green, JaMychal Green, and more.

We’re still cooking on our rolling Winners and Losers.

Paul Flannery on the Jazz spinning from losing Gordon Hayward to contending for a championship in two years.

Heat check time for the Blazers: they traded for Hassan Whiteside.

I wrote about the Nets finally taking New York.

Michael Pina on how the Sixers can evolve with Al Horford.

Mike Prada explains why Russell was worth the risk for the Warriors.

The Kevin Durant vs. the Warriors narrative is beginning to form.

What type of player Durant might be when he comes back from his injury.

Real heads know the Royal Blues are the best classic Kings jerseys (over the baby blues and the vaunted, beloved blacks). And the royal blues are back!

How the Nets did it. Here’s Howard Beck on the Kyrie + Durant team-up.

Anthony Davis explains why he waived his trade kicker.

Dan Devine on the super-powered East.

Someone from the Suns is trying to explain their lack of a chase for Russell by saying the team feared he’d be a bad example for Devin Booker, who is a grown man. How insulting. And is there a worse example being set than petulant, blame-shifting Bob Sarver?

Warriors franchisee Joe Lacob says no one will wear No. 35 for Golden State again so long as he runs the team.

The Kings won their version of free agency. The Bulls also did quite nicely for what they are trying to do.

How the Heat ended up in win-now mode.

And finally: Harvey Araton takes a blowtorch to James “Jimmy” “J.D.” Dolan and the New York Knickerbockers.

Be excellent to each other.